Author Archive | frank

The three virtues: Mind, Body, Machine.

La Vie Velominatus: Santoku

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In Japanese, “Santoku” means “Three Virtues”. Exactly which three virtues it is referring to is unclear, but I am fascinated by the idea of a single word with such a rich, if ambiguous, meaning. I have several kitchen knives that goes by this name, and within the scope of knives the three virtues are generally accepted to…

Classic witte socks

Lock, Sock, and Two Smoking Barrels

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It used to be that you could choose any color shoes you wanted, so long as they were black and any color socks, so long as they were white. Easy times, those. Then Gianni gave me his White Ladies and all of a sudden my life was complicated. First of all, the shoes were so beautifully white in…

Black eyes and yellow jersey go together like wine and pasta.

The First Weak

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Three days in, and it’s already been a brutal opening week of the Tour. I’ve never heard of the Tour neutralizing part of the stage unless a Schleck was involved, but I was relieved to understand that the reason for the neutralization had more to do with how many doctors were available for the second…

Sep Vanmarcke rides the cobbles Kelly-Style in the 2014 stage to Port du Hinault. Photo: Cycling Tips

Velominati Super Prestige: Tour de France 2015

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Cobblestones make the race, I’m not ruining any fantasies telling you that. Wet cobblestones, well, those make a legend. Nibbles rose in my esteem considerably when he rode the wet cobbles as well as he rides any mountain descent or climb; that is a boy with some nerves and some mad bike handling skills. Wet…

Parting the waters on a 24 pound bike.

Weight Weenies

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My bike weighs about 6 kilos. It is no waify little thing either, with it having a 61cm frame and and three stories of seatpost. It has beefy tubes, a stiff bottom bracket and steerer, and deep section wheels which are laced 3x in the back and 2x in front. This bike has never made me go faster;…

The Kuwahara Hirame pump head

Reverence: Kuwahara Hirame Pump Head

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I pump my tires up every single day, and every day it is the only part of Cycling I don’t like. The act of pumping while holding the pump in place is itself a bit of a bummer, especially if you are trying to do it in your Cycling shoes because your brain is too small to…

Kelly teaches the masterclass once again.

La Vie Velominatus: Standing Grace

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We are bipedal creatures. Fact. Bipedal locomotion sucks. Also a fact. This makes being a human somewhat challenging in the sense that we don’t have opposable toes or a tail with which to swing from tree limbs. Swinging from your tail seems a little bit like bliss, if you ignore the associated demotion back into the Food Chain.…

THe shadow foretells the ending.

Shadow Boxing

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In the 1989 Tour de France, Laurent Fignon was on the rivet. Close to collapse. But his Directeur Sportif noticed that Greg LeMond’s shoulders were rocking; he knew from the time he spent coaching Greg that this was the telltale sign of his imminent collapse. He ordered Fignon to attack, and he took the Yellow Jersey. He could…

Pantani shows how to do it.

Look Pro: Baller

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Whenever something tries to be something it isn’t, you wind up getting into trouble. Those Cutlass Cruisers in the 70’s and 80’s with vinyl wood panelling weren’t fooling anyone. Neither are those linoleum tiles in my kitchen; not one person in history has ever mistaken them for being marble. And Lycra has never tricked anyone into believing…

The Lion King was once a Pedalwan cub, just as the rest of us. Guide the uninitiated.

The Book and the Cover

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I rode with a rider I know from work a few weeks ago. The first time we sat in a meeting together, we immediately pegged one another as a Cyclist the way Cyclists always peg one another; nothing specific or obvious but everything nonspecific and nonobvious. It’s what we do, you can’t learn it and it can’t be…

Rollin' Dirty

Defining Moments: Dust Caps

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I genuinely miss the eighties. Funny Bikes, which I say without thinking this though. Then again, time trial bikes today are basically road bikes with a position for  tuned for “more speed”. In other words, switching to your TT bike today is like switching from your road bike to a slightly less comfortable road bike, with your…

How big is too big? How soft is too soft?

The Goldilocks Principle: Deflategate

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The Rider is the best book ever written about Cycling. I don’t mean that figuratively, I literally mean that literally. I say this despite having had my hand in writing our own Book about Cycling. What makes this book great is not just the prose, which is immaculate, but the spirit of the Velominatus that permeates the…

If you have to choose, choose quality over quantity

Short But Sweet

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My lungs feel my favorite way my lungs can feel. Every breath I take tells me the whereabouts of each alveolus. They feel raw, like they were scraped clean and opened up anew after a period of dormancy. Every breath tells me their exact shape and depth, where my lungs end and where my diaphragm begins. I feel high,…

Chuck Flop had some of the best guns in the business.

La Vie Velominatus: Gun Envy

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Three things define a Cyclist: their ability to crush fools, their ability to Look Fantastic, and the Magnificence of their Guns. If you are lacking in one, it is mandatory that the other two are increased in compensation. In the immortal words of Paul Fournel, “To Look Good is already to go fast.” Thank Merckx for that, because…

The Prophet crushes fools on the way to the Tre Chime in the '68 Giro

Velominati Super Prestige: Giro d’Italia 2015

by / / 545 posts

This is the most exciting thing that’s happened in Cycling since April. Yes, that’s a full two weeks with nothing exciting happening and its been killing me. I know its been killing you, too. I love the Giro, the master alchemist of bad weather and big mountains that keeps the racing exciting from the first day through the…

Frank and Rigid experience the Holy Land via the muddied secteur at Abattoirs. Photo: @Harminator

La Vie Velominatus: The Holy Land

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No pavé is smooth, and to ride them well the rider must enter them à bloc and keep pushing until one of two things happen: the secteur ends or the lights go out. The thing about cobbles is that each stone beats back the wheels like a boxer punching a speed bag, robbing the unit of speed with every stone…

Merckx leaves them behind on the Stockeu

Velominati Super Prestige: Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2015

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Liege is an interesting animal; whereas the Cobbled Classics are the sole domain of the specialists known as de Klassiekers in Flemish who rarely show their faces as serious contenders in the other portions of the season (assuming you ignore John Degencobble or Al Kristoff), the Ardennes classics have a strong showing from the Grand…

The weight of fatigue is taking its pound of flesh

Something from Nothing

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If the only kind of wind they have in Belgium is a headwind, then the only kind of flats they have in Northern France are false. In Vlaanderen, they specialize in a delectable combination of the two. (Everything that isn’t a windy false flat, it appears, is a windy cobbled climb.) The most obvious way to get…

Merckx help us if this tool wins again.

Velominati Super Prestige: La Fleche Wallonne 2015

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Who doesn’t like a nice, steep, uphill finish after getting your head kicked in for six hours? Not me, assuming I’m not racing. The key feature on this little doozy of a race is the 1.3km long Mur de Huy; doing a wind sprint up this thing has made the world’s best climbers shift into reverse and…

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